Hey there! I am Kimberly with Moms Guide to Cheap Travel. I have two beautiful kids and a never ending desire to explore. I have spent many late nights researching deals, learning “secrets” to traveling with kids and honestly learning from my MANY mistakes. I love helping people plan getaways and cringe when they don’t use promo codes… ALWAYS use promo codes! I created Moms Guide to Cheap Travel to help mamas who think they can’t afford to get away with their kids, you can do it and I’m here to help!
Of all the vacations and trips I’ve taken with my cute kids the ONE trip I get the most questions about is bringing them to Las Vegas. Even my own mother thinks I’m crazy for voluntarily bringing them. She may very well be right but I gotta say, I LOVE taking them! I don’t know if its the strange looks as a push a double stroller through the casino floor or the constant admiration of older couples coming up to let me know how much they miss their children at that age. Regardless its a party, a very awkward and exhausting one albeit! But from all these fun experiences I’ve been able to branch out and find the real “hidden gems” of Vegas.
Now first a cautionary tale….Be mindful of those beauties and try not to take them into areas you know they are not welcome. They don’t come out and say it but basically if your stroller is stationary in any area outside the magic carpet walkway a guard will not so politely remind you to keep your kids off the casino floor. Fun fact: Most customer service locations are on the casino floor. This means you cannot speak to customer service while caring for children. Even when your children are older its best to show them where they can and cannot walk. Honestly that may be the ONLY sour note I really have had when bringing kids to Vegas! Now lets get to the good stuff!
- Chose a smoke free hotel. This isn’t necessary but man do hotels get stinky, even up on the 15th floor! There are quite a few hotels still considered “strip worthy” that have designated Non smoking wings. Golden Nugget is our favorite for this reason. They have a newer tower called “Rush Tower” that is 100% smoke free, with its own private entrance far from the casino floor. Golden Nugget is surprisingly glamorous for a hotel on Fremont street. Plus I find it a lot easier to walk your kids down Fremont St. Vs the Strip. Its basically a hallway between hotels and with all those sparkling lights, 30 minutes and they are spent!
- Pick the right parking lot. Almost all casinos on the strip have a free “self parking” lot. But they are NOT created equal! The easiest way for you to see and walk the strip is to find a self parking lot at a casino centrally located. I know its quick to think “I’ll just go to this more rundown parking lot because they won’t care that I am not staying at their hotel. I spent a lot of time in the MGM parking lots for this reason. Until I realized NO ONE CARES but you. Seriously! So do your children a favor and park somewhere you feel safe. Somewhere well maintained, perhaps even a lot that occasionally gets cleaned. My personal favorite is “The Bellagio”, I rarely see it full and its prime location for all the fun stuff. If you feel like being REALLY ritzy go park at the Wynn and wander their hotel, it is spectacular!
- Eat EARLY. This is one that really depends on the time of year, but especially if you are eating at a Buffet, I HIGHLY suggest you come before 6pm. Lines form quickly and last forever! If there is one thing parents know its never to make a child wait longer then 20 minutes for their dinner.
- Bring snacks. Like more snacks then you EVER thought you would need. I’d highly suggest Fruit snacks, granola bars, and lots of water. Its amazing how long it takes to get from the Self Park into a building and finally make it to your destination! Not to mention if you have a toddler like mine that will refuse dinner and then demand food once your back in your hotel room.
- Bring a stroller, and not just the umbrella one. Of course if all you have is umbrella it will do but personally I feel in Vegas “the bigger the better”! I see a lot of moms draping shopping bags, diaper bags, and toys over those poor umbrella strollers. Bring the big stroller that can haul it all AND the children. Speaking of, even if your kid is 4 and never uses his stroller anymore, bring it. You walk EVERYWHERE in Vegas. Chances are eventually he will tucker out and aint nobody wanna haul a preschooler through a crowded casino in your arms. OUCH!
- Unless its the middle of summer pack a long sleeve shirt. Nevada isn’t known for its cool temperatures but occasionally in the October-April time period it will be chilly. Mix in the fact that the A/C will most probably still be on full blast, your kids may get cold.
Ok so now you got this, your gonna be the most zen parent in all of vegas. Peaceful kids, happy parents, It will be perfect! Now what are you gonna do with these little cuties? So help me if one more forum mentions Circus Circus. PLEASE for the good of us all…do NOT go there. It is disgusting, run down, stinky, icky, and not enjoyable for most children under 10. If you MUST go to an arcade find a local one outside of the strip. Perhaps do some of the things I’ve listed below?
- Mandalay Bay Shark Reef. This is a really fun aquarium style exhibit! They have a few reptiles and a winding path of exotic fish that lead you to a very impressive tank filled with all sorts of ocean life. Depending on your child’s interests this will buy you at least an hour if not more. Also note that there is a small food court just outside of the exhibit with typically mall food, also known as food your child will eat.
- Mirage “Siegfried & Roy” Dolphin exhibit. Now I must admit it always makes the kid friendly list but I just can’t do it. TripAdvisor tells tales of a sad little “zoo” and a pool that dolphins swim in. If you feel like checking it out please let me know your thoughts!
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax museum: Strangely enough my daughter loved this place. Staring at people is one of all children’s favorite pass times. Mix that with the fact that you can touch most of the wax figures and even pose with them makes this a win in my book. Also if its a weekday there are usually people on the strip passing out coupons to the museum.
- Discovery Children’s Museum: You will have to leave the strip for this one but it is SO worth it! Las Vegas, like most other major cities, has an AMAZING children’s museum. We are talking 5 levels of educational fun! You could literally take your children in the morning and spend the entire day there. Better yet let dad take them and drop mom off at the outlets that are less then 5 minutes away, major brownie points would be earned!
- Go swimming! Hopefully you have chosen your hotel wisely and have a safe place for your kids to spash around! If you have never been to Las Vegas before may I warn you, not all pools are created for children. Most of the 4 star+ hotels have BIG beautiful swimming pools, these pools during the summer season stay packed ALL day. They sometimes even have “in- water” gambling stations. You heard me right, gamble while you swim! Besides finding yourself a cute little Best Western with a tiny pool there are a few exceptions. Golden Nugget has a spectacular shark tank with a slide that goes through it. You need to be at least 5-6yrs before going down the slide but there are ledges by the tank so you can sit with smaller kids and let them watch the fishes go round. Mandalay Bay has a Lazy river, I personally haven’t used it but watched lots of others using it. It looks like a blast but it will most likely be a bit crowded. If you aren’t worried about staying on the strip I highly suggest Green Valley Ranch in Henderson (20 minutes from the Strip). They have a shallow end to their pool that is filled with sand so little ones can dig in the sand. They also have the most friendly pool staff I have every seen!
- Walk around at night. Especially Fremont street! Watch as your children’s little brains go into sensory overload! All the sparkling lights, its very magical. This is where we learned our daughter knew how to say “lights” in sign language; but that’s a story for another time!
I hope this has helped some of you and not scared you into letting grandma watch the kids! It really is a fun place to be as a family! I know you can do it!